The Boeing CEO admitted major errors in the development of the 737 MAX when a critical e-mail was revealed that showed an engineer's concern about some of the aircraft's systems years before two fatal crashes occurred.
CEO Dennis Muilenburg was repeatedly hammered by US lawmakers during a hearing on Wednesday about defects with the 737 MAX, which has been grounded in the last eight months after fatal crashes.
Boeing & # 39; s development of an important flight control system, known as MCAS, was central to the hearing, as Muilenburg acknowledged that we & # 39; made some mistakes & # 39; in the design.
The anti-maternity system, which was central to two crashes in Ethiopia and Indonesia that killed 346 people, automatically pushed the nose of the aircraft down during both crashes and left pilots to fight for control.
Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg was repeatedly hammered by US lawmakers during a hearing on Wednesday about defects with the 737 MAX, which has been grounded in the wake of fatal crashes in the past eight months.
Lawmakers released Boeing documents on Wednesday indicating that the company had considered adding an MCAS error message on the flight control panel to the 737 MAX.
Another Boeing document warned that if a pilot did not respond to the software within more than 10 seconds, activation to a & # 39; catastrophic & # 39; could lead to failure.
A newly released internal e-mail from 2015 was also released in which a Boeing engineer expressed concern about whether the flight control system they developed was unsafe because it relied on a single sensor.
& # 39; Are we vulnerable to some AOA sensor failures with the MCAS implementation & # 39 ;, wrote the employee.
The email, sent more than a year before the aircraft received final approval to fly, raised concerns about a problem that would be the cause of the two fatal crashes.
Representative Rick Larsen of Washington State, where Boeing is building the 737, at one point asked Muilenburg to name three mistakes the company made.
Muilenburg acknowledged that & # 39; we made some mistakes & # 39; in the development of MCAS.
He quickly reported that Boeing had not announced for months that it had optionally created a cockpit warning that highlighted disagreement between the air flow sensors.
& # 39; We are wrong, & # 39; he said.
A newly released internal e-mail from 2015 was also released in which a Boeing engineer had expressed concern about whether the flight control system they were developing was unsafe because it relied on a single sensor
Another Boeing document warned that if a pilot did not respond to the software for more than 10 seconds, activation to a & # 39; catastrophic & # 39; could lead to failure
Lawmakers released Boeing documents on Wednesday indicating that the company had considered adding an MCAS error message on the flight control panel to the 737 MAX
Muilenburg also said & # 39; clearly, we needed to improve a little & # 39; with regard to MCAS.
Finally, he said that the company & # 39; all our shareholders & # 39; should have been more efficient and comprehensive in communication and documentation & # 39 ;.
Muilenburg rejected a follow-up question as to whether he could name specific persons responsible for these errors, and noted that larger & # 39; teams & # 39; responsible for each of these areas.
The US representative Peter DeFazio, head of the House Transport and Infrastructure Committee holding the hearing, asked why Boeing approved MCAS when it was vulnerable to a single point of failure.
DeFazio also wondered why Boeing canceled the initial plans to install an & # 39; annunciator & # 39; notification from MCAS and how pilots could be expected to recover if the system failed, when Boeing details the MCAS system was not disclosed to pilots.
He also hammered Boeing's assumptions about how long it would take pilots to respond to a failure.
& # 39; I have talked to many bullied pilots, & # 39; said DeFazio.
& # 39; We need answers. We need reforms on how commercial aircraft are certified, & # 39; and how manufacturers such as Boeing & # 39; supervisors view & # 39; & # 39 ;.
DeFazio also accused Boeing of a & # 39; lack of sincerity & # 39; and urged Muilenburg why the company did not need data from critical air flow sensors, called attack sensors, when it originally designed the aircraft.
Muilenburg said the company had repeatedly asked the same question.
The 737 MAX has a number of new safety measures when supervisors finally give it permission to use it again. It takes data from the attack sensors and does not allow MCAS to activate more than once before a situation is resolved.
Family members take photos of the victims of Boeing 737 MAX crashing, as Boeing Chief Executive Dennis Muilenburg testifies before the House Transport and Infrastructure Committee on Wednesday
Muilenburg was also hammered during the hearing about his compensation, which last year rose to $ 23.4 million, and how he has not offered to resign after the crashes.
In the most intense exchange during the hearings to date, representative Steve Cohen from Tennessee thundered on Wednesday in Muilenburg: & You said you are responsible. What does accountability mean – do you reduce wages? Do you work for free from now on until you can solve this problem? The relatives of these people are not coming back, they are gone. Your salary is still & # 39 ;, he said and gestured to relatives of accident victims who attended the hearing.
& # 39; Congressman, it's not about the money for me, & # 39; said Muilenburg.
Cohen interrupted: & # 39; Give up your money? & # 39;
& # 39; Congressman, my board conducted a comprehensive review, & # 39; Muilenburg said softly but clearly shocked.
Cohen thundered: & # 39; So you say you don't give up compensation at all? You keep working and earn 30 million dollars a year after the horrific two accidents that caused all these family members to go, disappear, die? & # 39;
& # 39; Congressman, again, our council will make those decisions, & # 39; said Muilenburg.
& # 39; You are not responsible? You say the board is responsible? & # 39; Said Cohen.
& # 39; Congressman, I am responsible, sir, & # 39; said Muilenburg.
Later, California representative John Garamendi & # 39; have serious quality problems & # 39; checked on other Boeing flagship aircraft such as the 787 Dreamliner and KC-46 air tanker.
& # 39; You have a systemic problem in your company, & # 39; said Garamendi. & # 39; You push profit above quality and safety. & # 39;
Muilenburg explained the changes that Boeing is making to the Max and other steps it is taking to improve safety.
"We learn, we need to learn even more, we have to work to restore public confidence," said Muilenburg.
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